Dead of Night Complete Mediography

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Dead of Night
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In the appendix to Dead of Night, I present a selected mediography to the game, a sample of just some of the horror movies that I watched and books that I read when writing the second edition of the game. The movies presented in the mediography are those that I felt were most representative of the feel of the game, a whistle-stop tour of the influences and touchstones that give a reasonably good impression of how I envision a typical game.

In actual fact, this list was just the tip of the iceberg, for I must have watched scores of horror movies during the two or three years that Dead of Night was gestating. Most of these came from Scott Dorward’s big bag of DVDs, which he turned up with one Conception, and I must confess that there were some movies within the bag that even I could not face.

As I promised a complete mediography of influences and references in the back of Dead of Night, here it is in its entirety:


28 Days Later

28 Weeks Later

30 Days of Night

A Nightmare on Elm Street


An American Werewolf in London


Bad Taste


Blair Witch Project



Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Cannibal Holocaust

Cemetery Man



Dawn of the Dead

Dead Snow

District 9

Dog Soldiers

Evil Dead

Friday 13th


Ginger Snaps




I Know What you did last summer

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers

Jacob’s Ladder

Ju-On: The Grudge

Let the Right One In


Near Dark

Night of the Living Dead


One Missed Call



Resident Evil


Rosemary’s Baby



Session 9


Testuo: The Iron Man

The Brood

The Cottage

The Curse

The Faculty

The Fly

The Grudge

The Haunting

The Host

The House on Haunted Hill

The Innocents

The Mist

The Mummy

The Omen

The Omen

The Shining

The Silence of the Lambs

The Thing

Thirteen Ghosts



Half Life 2

Left 4 Dead

Silent Hill

System Shock

Resident Evil



Quatermass II


The X-Files


Although the source material for Dead of Night primarily stems from the cinema and straight-to-DVD movie, there are a handful of books that encapsulate a good Dead of Night game too.

At the Mountains of Madness


Day of the Triffids



I Am Legend

The Call of Cthulhu

The Colour out of Space

The Dunwich Horror

The Island of Dr Moreau

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The following reference guides were invaluable in researching the second edition, in particular the Genre and Creating your Monster chapters:

The Rough Guide to Horror Movies, Alan Jones, 2005

How to Survive a Horror Movie, Seth Grahame-Smith, 2007

  1. Scott Dorward says:

    I’ve seen a couple of monster movies recently that really feel like Dead of Night scenarios to me.

    1) Frankenfish

    As might suspect from the title, this is unashamedly a B-movie, but it’s not as schlocky as it sounds. It revolves around a medical examiner and a biologist rooting around the Louisiana Bayou to find out what has been killing and eating some of the residents. Most of the film takes place on a series of houseboats which are under siege from the monstrous fish of the title.

    What makes the film good gaming inspiration is that it revolves around a group of characters in an isolated environment, having to face down a largely unseen threat, and has the characters acting largely sensibly, but still endangered by unforeseen hazards, infighting and just plain bad luck. Add in the fact that while it manages to balance tension, horror and black humour, and you have a perfect Dead of Night one-shot!

    2) Rogue

    Rogue is an Australian film about a group of tourists on a riverboat who run foul of a large and ill-tempered crocodile. It has some similarities with Frankenfish, that that it’s a largish group of characters who are stranded and dealing with an aquatic foe. It’s a slightly more serious affair, but still has the character dynamics of a good horror RPG one-shot.

    There is another film along very similar lines to Rogue, called Black Water, which is much lower budget and really deals with isolation (most of it takes place in a single tree). It’s probably the better film, and is certainly grimmer and more tense, but feels less like a game session.

  2. andrewkenrick says:

    Is Black Water the one in a similar vein to Open Water, where the characters get stuck up a tree in crocodile-infested swamp? I think that’s based on a true story, and you’re right, it might struggle to be a good game.

  3. Scott Dorward says:

    That’s the one. It’s a terrific film, and it hides its lack of budget well by keeping to a few locations and using visual effects sparingly. The making-of documentary on the DVD is fascinating, in that it shows just what you can accomplish in a film with creative editing.

    I imagine a game session which went along the lines of the film would be a bit dull, though, as most of it relies on menace rather than actual events. Rogue is more action-packed, if a lot less believable (especially the ending), but feels almost exactly like a game session.

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